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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

A Dirge

Death and a dirge at midnight;
   Yet never a soul in the house
Heard anything more than the throb and beat
   Of a beautiful waltz of Strauss.

Dead, dead, dead, and staring,
   With a ghastly smile on its face;
But the world saw only laughing eyes
   And roses, and billows of lace.

Floating and whirling together,
   Into the beautiful night,
How little you dreamed of the ghastly thing
   I was hiding away from your sight.

Meeting your dark eyesТ splendour,
   Feeling your warm, sweet breath,
How could you know that my passionate heart
   Had died a horrible death?

Died in its fever and fervour,
   Died in its beautiful bloom;
And that waltz of Strauss was a funeral dirge,
   Leading the way to the tomb.

But you held my hand at parting,
   And I smiled back a gay good night;
And you never knew of the ghastly corpse
   I was hiding away from your sight.

Yet whenever I hear the Danube--
   Under its pulsing strain,
I catch the wail of the funeral dirge,
   And my heart dies over again.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. At Eleusis
  3. But a Dream
  4. The Call (All wantonly in hours of joy)
  5. The Awakening (I love the tropics, where sun and rain)

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Alfred Tennyson A Dirge ("Now is done thy long day's work")
  • Percy Shelley A Dirge ("Rough wind, that moanest loud")
  • Madison Cawein A Dirge ("Life has fled; she is dead")
  • Amy Levy A Dirge ("ФMein Herz, mein Herz ist traurig")
  • Menella Smedley A Dirge ("Let her rest!")

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